Last Sunday afternoon, Jeff, Kylie and I set off for Utah. We traveled there in two days (with a lovely little overnight stop at the Best Western in Dillon, MT), arriving at Anna and Shawn's Monday evening. On Tuesday, Kylie finished up some last minute shopping, and then we visited the "This is the Place" Monument (or as Kylie says it should be called, "This is the right place" since that is what Brigham Young actually said when he saw the Salt Lake valley). Afterward we went to the top of the Church Office building on Temple Square, and had a tour of the Conference Center (Kylie was especially happy to see the roof top gardens since she had never been on top of the center.). Our tour guide at the Conference Center was an elderly Dutch gentleman name John Duboise. He was a commanding figure, at about 6'2", and he had a very small bubble space (I think he either poked or gently punched Jeff in the chest at least 4 or 5 times to make a point), and was an absolute delight. He had such a wonderful spirit about him, that he really made the symbolism of the Conference Center come alive for us. At one point he asked Kylie a question, and being quite delighted with her answer he put his arms around her, pulled her into his side and give her a big hug. Then he laughed, said that since she was officially a missionary he probably shouldn't give her a hug, and hugged her a little longer. Me - I got a high 5 from him. I would have to say that Elder Dubois made that tour a real highlight for all of us.
On Wednesday, we headed down to Prove where Kylie visited with her friend, Alyssa, for a short time. Then we headed up to Bridal Veil Falls for a short visit (Kylie was bit by a goose there when she was about 2 - but we can now say that it caused no lifelong trauma with Provo Canyon :-). The river was running high and the falls were beautiful. We had lunch at Olive Garden and then it was time to head to the MTC.
Kylie likened the curb side drop off as removing a band-aid really quick! We pulled in, two Elders met us at the curb, we all got out and unloaded Kylie's bags, quick hugs and then off Kylie walks with her two younger brother's in the gospel. It will be 18 months before we see her again, but we will be able to talk to her at Christmas, other than that it is weekly letters and emails. Though the drop off is tough, I think the old way (parent meeting etc.) would be a lot harder (and way more emotional!). As Hermana Marks walked away, she had a smile on her face, she looked happy, and I know she is excited to serve a mission, she has planned and looked forward to this day for a long time. She is going to be an awesome missionary!